Zahra and Aalia have been living under their father’s roof for far too long, yet they’re just teenagers. Since they were small, his tyranny in their home and in the world has thundered without a clear end in sight, and they refuse to take it any longer. With the advice of their missing sister in mind, the two girls race swiftly away from their father, with a whole terrorist group scouring the Middle East to find them. During their adventure, they find out they aren’t useless as their father and culture had them believe, and they meet other gifted people along the way to help them to their goal: going to America.
I liked the premise of this book. Instead of being the typical Western setting, the girls begin in Pakistan and journey throughout the Middle East, then they find their way to the western hemisphere. The different cultural values and the oppression women in the Middle East still face is a prominent theme.
The plot had some major holes in it, though. In the beginning, Aalia gets bitten by a snake, and her leg swells up and becomes infected and everything. The only thing Zahra does to help her is give her pain medication. Pain medication will not heal the wound. But, about a day later, her fever has cleared and her leg is basically fine. This is just one example on the logistical mistakes throughout the plot. I know it’s fiction, but it’s supposed to be realistic fiction and the possibility of many of these things makes no sense.
Also, I felt very detached the to characters and events during the book. Instead of being shown the story and being in the scenes, I felt like someone was telling me all of this. This style would have worked if the book was set up in such a way as to make the adventures a flashback or reminiscent, but the book wasn’t constructed like that. Everything is real time and exciting, except the distance I felt between the characters dwindled the excitement for me.
The transitions between the events or dialogue seems a bit choppy. In one paragraph their speaking in the hotel, and in the next their on the road. I actually think the book should have been longer, because that would have allowed for the dialogue to be more developed and the plot to flow better.
The book is in dual perspective, but I think it would have been more beneficial if Zahra’s point of view is the only one the reader sees. I really liked the characters. For one, they all have depth and good back stories. None of the characters are two dimensional. While I do think some of their actions are strange and don’t seem realistic, all of their personalities are unique and interesting.
I adored the plot idea and characters, but the writing style is detached and the story is unrealistic.